Long ago, way back during my domestic goddess days, I made up my mind to get serious about cuisine. I read everything I could get my hands on, clipped recipes from magazines and newspapers, watched all the PBS cooking shows, and tried out new foods and recipes on my family. My poor kids, once we made fresh pasta and hung fetuccine to dry all over the house! That was incredible pasta, it was so delicious we ate the whole batch. It was also during that time I decided to try candy making and after a few experiments, I came up with this recipe for truffles. I entered it in a local contest and won second place, not bad for a first time entry. The comments were very nice from a judge who appreciated the taste of rich dark chocolate. The other judges preferred milk chocolate. Oh well, you can't please everyone. I was still very happy with my win and spent the small cash prize on my kids. At the time, the only good chocolate I could find in our area was either Tobler or Lindt. How fortunate we are today to have so many fine chocolates available in supermarkets. Try this surprisingly simple recipe with the best quality chocolate and ingredients you can afford, you will not be disappointed. It is easy to make by hand, so let that electric mixer have the day off and have some fun making candy!
DARK CHOCOLATE TRUFFLES
makes about 28-32
8 ounces fine dark chocolate, "Chocolatier" or "Guittard" or "Valhrona"
3 tablespoons quality unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup heavy whipping cream, or "manufacturing" cream sold at Smart & Final
Dark cocoa powder, chocolate candy melting discs, ground nuts, or other decorations
Additional flavorings or seasonings, see *NOTE
Scald cream in a heavy saucepan. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. Strain cream through a very fine sieve or clean cheesecloth. Melt the chocolate over a double boiler or a heat-proof bowl set over simmering, not boiling water, and do not allow bowl to touch the water. When melted, remove from heat. Beat butter into chocolate until smooth. Add in flavoring, if desired, at this time. Vigorously beat cooled scalded cream into chocolate/butter mixture with a sturdy whisk, until it becomes light and fluffy. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm. Be proud of yourself, you have just made ganache! Chill ganache for about 1 to 3 hours. Form into balls using a sturdy melon baller, or pipe with a pastry bag fitted with a star tip into little paper candy cups, found at craft stores like Michael's. Dust with cocoa powder or powdered sugar. Or gently roll in chopped nuts, candy decorations, etc. Or if you dare, melt dark chocolate couvature discs, also found at Michael's, and cover each little chilled ball, carefully dipping into the melted chocolate using two forks, and transferring to a sheet pan covered with waxed paper. Let these chill and place in the paper cups. It kind of reminds of "I Love Lucy" when Lucy and Ethel were chocolate dippers! Enjoy making these little truffles.
*PLEASE NOTE: any additional flavorings can be added to this recipe EXCEPT liquids. You must reduce the amount of cream by the same amount of liquid to be added. For example, if you want to add two tablespoons of Bailey's Irish Creme liqueur, you must adjust the amount of liquid by removing two tablespoons of the whipping cream. If you decide to add a dry ingredient like a teaspoon of instant espresso powder, you do not need to make any liquid adjustments.